ASG unveils online platform to hear more student voices

Jillian Sandler, Campus Editor

Associated Student Government unveiled at its senate meeting Wednesday an online platform for students to submit suggestions to improve student life at Northwestern.

The platform, entitled Campus Voice, allows students to log in with their NetIDs to publicly post questions, concerns or ideas. ASG Vice President Brad Stewart, a Medill senior, said the site’s format is similar to Reddit in that users can vote posts up or down, so the posts with the most positive votes to move toward the top of the page.

ASG President Victor Shao said the site will make it more convenient for students to submit their ideas to ASG representatives.

“If you have an idea at 2 a.m., you’re not going to go to your senator and you might forget it in the morning,” the Weinberg senior said. “It’s an idea we otherwise would have lost.”

The idea for Campus Voice originated during Shao and Stewart’s election campaign last year after they reached out to the University of Virginia’s student body president to find out about their programs. Shao said they found out UVA has an online forum where student body representatives can “crowdsource ideas,” which spurred the duo to create a platform for NU.

Stewart said he and McCormick senior Ethan Romba, ASG’s vice president for technology, were the primary builders of the site, which Shao said will also update students on the status of ASG’s projects.

In addition to posting ideas, students can comment on the suggestions submitted by others, Stewart said. He also said those who vote ideas down will be required to say why they did so in order to promote dialogue.

Students are free to post as many ideas as they want, so long as they do not post more than once per minute, a limitation implemented in order to prevent automated spamming, Stewart said. Anyone who submits posts can be identified through their NetIDs by ASG representatives and other users, something that Stewart said is important for the progression of ideas.

“Students will have to log in before they can do anything to make sure we’re getting genuine feedback … so we can go back and request more information and pick their brain a little more,” he said.

Shao said ASG plans to allot time in executive board meetings to talk about the ideas. He also said an ASG representative will respond to posts made on the site, but it has not yet been determined who will do so.

Weinberg and Bienen freshman Jacob Pope said he “can’t think of a way that’s more convenient” to submit ideas, but expressed some concern over the public status of the posts.

“Sometimes you might want your suggestions to be private,” Pope said.

Shao said students can still contact ASG senators through other more private means, depending on their preferences, but Campus Voice will provide a tool for ASG to hear ideas from more students.

“Ultimately we want to attack what the students want,” he said.